This week has been a struggle because I have been negative about the cards life has dealt me. I know what you are thinking, “But Kristen, you are this little ray of crazy sunshine! You can’t have bad days!” Oh, the contrary my friends, even I sometimes struggle with staying upbeat and positive. Especially when it comes to my health.
When I was 19, my life changed. One morning I woke up with such severe eye pain that I thought I was going to lose my eye. My eye doctor insisted it was improper contact usage, but after a second opinion, I was told I had a rare disease called Uveitis. It is an inflammation of the interior eye causing light sensitivity, redness, and your eye to feel like it has been slammed in a door repeatedly. After more testing to figure out what was happening to me, blood tests showed that I was HLAB 27+. I know you all know exactly what that is, but for the one soul that doesn’t, it is the leading factor in auto-immune disorders. After becoming a guinea pig for more testing, they found that I had Fibromyalgia. This is a disease that makes you feel tired, sore, and anxious all the damn time. In other words, at 19, my body decided to make life a lot more challenging than it needed to be.
So what did I do? I felt sad for myself. I cried. I drank. I did everything pretty much the doctors told me not to do because I was upset with the way life took a turn. While I was always trying to be happy on the outside, inside I was losing it, not knowing what my future was going to be like. I didn’t want to deal with it, I just wanted it to go away so I could be a normal person and live a normal life. It wasn’t until I realized that my negative way of thinking was my only hindrance. That’s when I decided I need to make a change.
I got healthier. I started running and doing yoga. I stopped stressing about the dumb things. I started sleeping at normal hours and partying less. In some ways, I did a complete 180 and was able to amaze my doctors with my accomplishments. Finally, I was taking back my life and making it my own, until this week. In four years, I hadn’t had a flare up. My life was going smooth and I thought I had everything under control. Until this week when the past came back to bite me in the ass. My eye raged and reminded me of how far I had come because it took me right back to that bad place I was in. My body reminded me that this is a constant fight and that no matter how hard I try, I could be a victim to it.
So this week I have struggled. I felt sorry for myself as I walked into my eye specialist’s office that I know so well and watched people living normal lives, just having their average check ups. I couldn’t help but feel this insane jealousy. I am always the youngest patient and have the staff tell me they felt sorry for me having to go through this. I don’t want people feeling sorry for me, I just want to feel okay again, but I am back here, in this place that brings back so much anger. Hurt. Fear. Sadness. How is it that even when I am doing all the right things, I end up back in the same spot I used to be in? Why now and why me?
And then I got my sign. I was watching Good Morning America and Robin Roberts (who has been through hella worse health issues) was preaching her powerful words to me as if she knew I needed her right then the most. She said, “Make a message out of your mess.” While I am struggling to figure out the twisted way life works and why I was the lucky one to have their body rebelling against them, it made me realize that I can’t let this one factor define my happiness. Also, it made me feel like if I shared my story, maybe someone out there with the same struggle can learn that they are not alone.
The lesson to be learned: Stop feeling sorry for yourself. Life handed you a bad lemon, so chuck it at the world and make something of it. Do whatever it is you need to do to grieve for a moment for yourself and then get back up again. Cry. Scream. Dance with Ellen Degeneres and forget your pain. Allow yourself to do what you need to do, but don’t let whatever it is taking over your emotion be the one thing that defines you. Life has a way of pulling us down, but it is to remind us that we must always get back up again. Just remember, there is always someone out there far worse than you. Appreciate your struggles, whatever they may be. God wouldn’t have given it to you if He didn’t think you could get through it. It might hurt right now, but I can promise you, you will be able to get through it.